The No. 25-ranked Alabama men’s basketball team may be one player closer to full strength on Tuesday night.
Crimson Tide head coach Avery Johnson thinks they will need to be.
Senior forward Riley Norris, who has missed Alabama’s first three games with a hip injury, will be “a game-time decision” for UA’s game with Texas-Arlington.
“He’ll go through practice today and we will evaluate and see whether he can go,” Johnson said.
If Norris gets a vote, he will be a part of the action.
“I feel really good,” Norris said on Monday. “I feel like I’m back almost 100 percent.”
“We need his experience,” Johnson said. “Riley can deliver our message to the players better than anyone else, because he’s been in it.”
That would be an asset for UA against an experienced opponent like Texas-Arlington. The Mavericks are 2-0 after a blowout win against Brigham Young on Saturday and are one of the teams receiving votes for this week’s AP top 25.
Point guard Erick Neal (17.5 ppg, 10.5 assists per game) and 6-foot-9 power forward Kevin Hervey (25.5 ppg, 8.5 rebounds) give UT-A an inside-outside duo that Johnson says “could play at any Power 5 school in the country.”
“I want to send out an alert,” Johnson said. “We need our fans. This is arguably the best nine-man rotation we’ve played in a non-conference game at Coleman Coliseum since we’ve been here. They are really tough…a well-oiled machine.”
Alabama vs. Texas-Arlington
When: 8 p.m. CT, Tuesday, Nov. 21
Where: Coleman Coliseum
Records: Alabama 3-0, UT-Arlington 2-0
TV: SEC Network
Radio: 95.3 FM
For the first time since the 2011 season, Alabama is ranked in the weekly Associated Press poll. The Crimson Tide is ranked at No. 25, replacing Northwestern
“We’re not going to take an arrogant stance and say it just doesn’t matter,” Johnson said. “We haven’t won five championships or 16 championships in our program. In one sense, we need small victories. Yes, it’s still about today’s practice and tomorrow’s game. But the publicity and the recognition also helps our program, both now and going forward. That’s my honest answer. I’m not going to just give you coach-speak about how it doesn’t matter.”
John Petty was named the SEC Freshman of the Week for his performance in Alabama’s two wins last week.
The 6-foot-5 guard averaged 22 points, five rebounds and two assists against Lipscomb and Alabama A&M. It is the first freshman weekly honor for any Crimson Tide men’s basketball player since Braxton Key earned the accolade on Jan. 30, 2017.
Petty set a school record on Friday by knocking down 10 3-pointers to propel the Crimson Tide past Alabama A&M, 104-67. Petty’s 10 treys is tied for fourth all-time in SEC history and is the first time an SEC player has poured in 10 or more three-pointers in a game since Michael Frazier of Florida (March 4, 2014).
Reach Cecil Hurt at email@example.com or 205-722-0225.